arm's length


: a distance discouraging personal contact or familiarity
kept former friends at arm's length now
: the condition or fact that the parties to a transaction are independent and on an equal footing
ˈärmz-ˈleŋ(k)th How to pronounce arm's length (audio)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The entire powertrain is mounted on a subframe, and hydraulically damped engine mounts keep noise and vibration at arm's length. John Phillips, Car and Driver, 10 Mar. 2023 Carter has been a consistent three-point shooter, but of late his triples have often come at times that swing momentum and this pair helped the Bucks keep the Magic at arm's length and set up a victory. Jim Owczarski, Journal Sentinel, 7 Mar. 2023 And about that convo... Chris Olsen, a TikToker, captured a little moment between Harry and Taylor where the two are standing up, engaged in a conversation at about an arm's length from one another. Addison Aloian, Women's Health, 6 Feb. 2023 The boy's family is alleging that the mall was negligent and caused harm to the boy and emotional distress to his mother, who was an arm's length from her son when he was attacked. Chao Xiong, Star Tribune, 28 July 2021 After the first half, Butler generally kept DePaul at arm's length. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Jan. 2023 Grab a dumbbell in each hand and hold them at arm's length next to your chest. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 16 Nov. 2022 Most entrepreneurs try to keep them at arm's length, valuing their money more than their advice. Mark Gimein, The Week, 29 Nov. 2022 Congressional leaders are keeping Trump at arm's length. Harold Maass, The Week, 21 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arm's length.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of arm's length was in 1655

Dictionary Entries Near arm's length

Cite this Entry

“Arm's length.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Legal Definition

arm's length

: the condition of the parties to a business deal in which each has independent interests and one does not dominate the other
often used in the phrase at arm's length
a contract made at arm's length
arm's-length adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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